UPDATE (Aug. 17):
The U.S. Assistant Attorney has confirmed to XXL that the State plans to show jurors multiple R. Kelly sex tapes during the trial.
ORIGINAL STORY (Aug. 17):
Opening statements in R. Kelly‘s Chicago trial began on Wednesday (Aug. 17), with both the prosecution and the defense giving their initial monologues. The 55-year-old singer is being accused of child pornography, obstruction of justice and the enticement of minors into criminal sexual activity. The obstruction charge accuses Kelly, his former business manager Derrel McDavid and associate Milton “June” Brown of conspiring to bribe witnesses in the 2008 trial in which Kelly was acquitted of child pornography. According to NBC News, jurors will have to bear witness to multiple videos of Kelly reportedly having sex with minors.
“The videos are difficult to watch,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney Jason Julien. “But it’s important for you all to watch those videos to understand what happened.”
The State painted R. Kelly as an out of control pedophile who tried to cover up his crimes with the help of his associates.
“Robert Kelly had sex with multiple children. He made videotapes having sex with multiple children,” Julien said. “This trial is not complicated in terms of what the issues are.”
In 2008, Kelly skated on charges that he had sex with a 14-year-old girl after a 26-minute video allegedly showing the act was anonymously sent to the Chicago-Sun Times in 2002. The girl refused to testify at trial. Now, the prosecution says the woman from the video, who is now 37, is ready to come clean. She was referred to as “Jane” in the court hearing.
“Jane is going to testify it’s her on the videos, that it’s Kelly having sex with her,” Julien reportedly told the jury. “Kelly had sex with Jane hundreds of time, at Kelly’s home, in his recording studio, on his tour bus and in hotels. Kelly told her they would get in a lot of trouble if anyone found out he was having sex with Jane.”
Jane’s family will also testify that they were pushed into not telling the truth in 2008, by Kelly and members of his team.
R. Kelly’s defense attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, countered the State’s argument.
“It is true that Mr. Kelly is imperfect,” she said of her client. “You’ll have to decide whether you believe these people. You’ll have to decide whether they deserve any ounce of credibility.”
Jury selection for the trial started on Monday (Aug. 15), with Judge Harry D. Leinenweber denying R. Kelly’s attorney’s motion to exclude any juror who saw the 2019 docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. R. Kelly is already serving 30 years in prison, which was decided upon this past June, after being found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges last September.
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